Gagnon-trem­blay leaves rid­ing, not Lib­eral fam­i­lies

Stanstead Journal - - FRONT PAGE - Staff Sher­brooke

In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions

Min­is­ter Monique

Gagnon-Trem­blay spoke to the me­dia an­nounc­ing that she will not be run­ning in the next elec­tion. Mrs. Gagnon-Trem­blay

was vis­i­bly emo­tional about the mat­ter; it is to

be expected since she has as­sumed im­por­tant re­spon­si­bil­i­ties throughout her po­lit­i­cal ca­reer.

She spoke of Premier Jean Charest as a source of mo­ti­va­tion and courage, yet when he talked about her, on Mon­day the day be­fore she an­nounced that she would not be run­ning, his trail­ing voice in­di­cated a deeper loss, more per­sonal, as if he was los­ing a fam­ily mem­ber, the mother fig­ure that has eluded him as an or­phan.

Such was the power of Monique GagnonTrem­blay over Quebec’s pol­i­tics, who for­mally an­nounced yes­ter­day that she will not run in the next pro­vin­cial elec­tion. She was the first woman to be Head of the Op­po­si­tion, Vice- Premier un­der Bourassa and Charest, but first and fore­most a peo­ple rep­re­sen­ta­tive.

She is not of the straight line politi­cians’ lin­eage, not for her a ca­reer in pol­i­tics out of univer­sity. Ca­reer was le­gal sec­re­tary, out of the Quirion busi­ness school, name in English only, in Thed­ford Mines. Then she spent 12 years as a le­gal sec­re­tary for a notary, to go back to school in her twen­ties, at Univer­sité de Sher­brooke, be­com­ing the sec­ond fe­male notary in the Town­ships. Opened a small prac­tice in As­cot Cor­ner, gets her­self elected mu­nic­i­pal coun­cil­lor there, a choice that she en­cour­aged women who want to en­ter pol­i­tics, as she said yes­ter­day. Then her first foray into pro­vin­cial politic, first as the pres­i­dent of the No com­mit­tee in Sain­tFrançois, the Oui wins. Then a can­di­date at the next elec­tion, loose, only to fi­nally be elected in 1985 and re-elected ever since.

This is so atyp­i­cal of to­day’s politi­cians, most dream­ing of the limou­sine be­fore serv­ing their con­stituents that some­how it seems un­real that there are still those types of politi­cians alive, in any par­ties.

Mrs. Gagnon-Trem­blay took the time to re­mind the English community that it was her gov­ern­ment who was able to find a vo­ca­tion to the English hospi­tal in Sher­brooke. “Af­ter the bru­tal clos­ing of these in­sti­tu­tions by the Parti Québe­cois, we saw to it that the CHUS, found a vo­ca­tion for these fa­cil­i­ties.” She also re­minded that it was her gov­ern­ment and since the CHUS Fleu­ri­mont site is in rid­ing, she per­son­ally lob­bied to have the teach­ing hospi­tal keep its vo­ca­tion as there were then talk of clos­ing of one of them for bud­getary rea­son.

If Mrs. GagnonTrem­blay ap­pre­hends miss­ing some­thing it’s the fam­ily that the Lib­eral Party had be­come to her. “I’m no longer twenty; ten years ago I would have signed for an­other term.”

She de­scribed her­self best as a “rassem­bleuse” one of the few words with­out a di­rect English equiv­a­lent, the of­fi­cial Cana­dian def­i­ni­tion be­ing pooler. It’s hard to find a politi­cian who has been at the Na­tional Assem­bly for al­most three decades who doesn’t make a cou­ple of en­e­mies, in her case its hard them speak­ing pub­licly any­how.

When asked if her rid­ing would re­main Lib­eral when the next elec­tion is called, now al­most a cer­tainty for Septem­ber fourth, she did not dis­play her usual con­fi­dence. While yes­ter­day the me­dia were quot­ing Lib­eral sources as say­ing that the full ros­ter of 125 can­di­dates was there and ready, the hes­i­tant an­swers to the ques­tion of who will re­place her seems to in­di­cate that in Saint-François this may not be the case.

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